Ebola Preparedness at Your Healthcare Facility
In acute hospital settings, its critical to create contingency plans for potential exposure to infectious substances. As recent experience with COVID-19 and Monkeypox demonstrate, the potential for an infectious disease outbreak is always around the corner, and you don’t want to be left without any recourse for disposing of this highly dangerous waste.
With a worrying rise in Ebola cases linked to an outbreak in Uganda, there is no better time than the present to ensure your facility is prepared to handle even the potential of an Ebola case reaching your doors. Here’s what you need to know to ensure your healthcare facility is prepared for the worst with appropriate risk mitigation strategies.
IN THIS BLOG:
How is waste from Ebola cases classified and handled?
As an infectious disease, waste from Ebola cases is classified as a Category A Waste, meaning that it is reasonably expected to contain pathogens capable of causing permanent disability or a life-threatening or fatal disease. Note that even suspected Ebola cases generate Category A waste until such time that tests indicate that the patient does not have Ebola. Other examples of Category A waste include certain clades of Monkeypox as well as Zika Virus.
This specific type of regulated medical waste has unique requirements for handling and transportation that are governed by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), part of the US Department of Transportation (DOT).
To start, a special permit must be granted by the PHMSA to transport Ebola waste, and each waste collection service must be pre-approved by the PHMSA with a specific pick-up date, time, and treatment location. Additionally, a dedicated truck must collect the waste and drive directly to the destination treatment facility, and the PHMSA must be notified that the waste reaches the destination facility.
Taken as a whole, these detailed requirements mean that a Category A waste can’t just be tacked on to an existing pick-up schedule. By definition it must be handled separately and with the utmost care as an addendum to your existing waste disposal solutions.
Packaging requirements for Category A waste
In addition to following handling and transport guidelines from the PHMSA when handling Category A waste, the waste generator (i.e., the healthcare facilities themselves) must follow strict packaging requirements as well. Waste from confirmed or suspected Ebola cases must be packaged as follows:
- Contained in a PGII Certified Poly Drum outer container
- Absorbent material must be placed in the bottom of the drum
- Waste is double bagged in 3 millimeter (thicker than usual) certified liner
- Each inner bag is sprayed with EPA-approved detergent for Ebola
- The outer packaging is sprayed with detergent
- Poly drum is locked with a lid
Three labels must be affixed to the poly drum: an infection substance label, a UN2814 label, and a package orientaation arrows label
Expected waste volumes when handling Category A waste
At Daniels Health, our experience with previous cases suggests that just one single patient with a Category A waste can generate enough waste to fill up eight 55-gallon drums of waste per day. And remember, even suspected cases involving Category A waste must be treated with the same level of care until such time that tests are able to determine the specific infection, so you need appropriate risk mitigation strategies in place.
Given the high volume of waste that Ebola (or similar) cases can create, it’s critical to have the right containment materials in place, especially when factoring in the time needed to produce and ship the specific container materials in a competitive, supply-chain restricted environment.
Ebola preparedness at your healthcare facility
So, what does Ebola preparedness look like? Daniels Health has created an Ebola kit specifically designed to include everything you need to ensure that suspected or confirmed incidences of cases involving Category A waste are properly contained to meet the standards required from the PHMSA. That includes the appropriate containment materials, packaging, and labels needed to properly package and dispose of this waste.
Ebola kits are designed to be stored for years without being used, so there is minimal downside to ensuring you have the needed contingencies in place at your facility for risk mitigation.
Additionally, our team is available to provide resource, instructions, and training on how to properly package waste to ensure safe disposal.
Remember, given the volume of waste that even one patient with suspected Category A waste can create, we aim to supply enough Ebola kits to ensure that a hospital has up to 24 hours of waste containment in the event of a case or suspected case. That’s why we recommend that healthcare facilities have a minimum of eight Ebola kits on hand (or ready to be shipped at a moment’s notice).
Building a safety net with Daniels Health
Category A waste, like those created from confirmed or suspected Ebola cases, is both complex and highly regulated. If your healthcare facility finds itself in the position of having to handle such cases, the last thing you’ll want to be scrambling for are appropriate waste containers.
Our goal at Daniels Health is to help mitigate risks and build your safety net by ensuring you’re prepared for any and all contingencies. An investment in enough Ebola kits to get through a day or two of a suspected case is not just smart planning but a critical resource to ensure the safety of anyone that walks through your facility’s doors.
When and if you’re in this situation, you don’t want to be left with no recourse. Contact us today to learn more about supplementing your medical waste disposal solutions with Ebola contingency kits.